Sunday, January 17, 2010
Cloth diapering is not without problems. Stains, repelling liquid, and diaper stink are issues that a cloth diapering household will likely encounter at least once.
What about stains? In cloth diapering staining does happen. Many cloth diapers are specific in their washing routines so your normal stain protocol for clothing may not work. Some stains will go away with repeated washings. But the most natural way I have found to reduce stains is to use good old Mr. Sunshine. Hanging the stained diapers in the sun for a day or two can make the stains disappear.
What about repelling liquid? Repelling liquid is a problem that can be found with pocket diapers. Pocket diapers are diapers with a waterproof exterior and a layer of stay dry material against the baby's skin. The absorbent material is then placed in between the two layers. Repelling liquid happens when there is a build-up on the stay dry fabric and the wetness does not go through the material fast enough so it leaks out your baby's legs. I have had this happen on more than one occasion. To prevent this you need to make sure you don't wash using too much detergent, fabric softener, or a detergent with additives. When you do have build-up you can remedy the situation by stripping the diapers. To strip your baby's cloth diapers you need to rinse the dirty diapers. Once they are rinsed wash the diapers on hot with a small amount of regular Dawn dish liquid. By small amount I mean about a Tablespoon in a large load. Once they are washed you need to rinse the diapers until the water runs clear. You want to make sure there is no detergent left in the diapers. If you have a lot of build-up you may need 10-20 rinses to get out all of the detergent. In some cases where hard water is present Calgon Water Softener may be necessary to get your diapers to rinse clean.
What about diaper smell? Diaper smell is usually caused by letting your diapers sit too long before washing, by using a wet diaper pail, and by not using enough detergent. You should wash your diapers every 2-3 days. If they sit longer than that diaper stink can set in. If you use a wet diaper pail, dunk the diapers in the toilet, or if you rinse out your diapers with a diaper sprayer you want to wash every two days. Leaving very wet diapers for more than 2 days can also cause diaper stink to set in. Make sure you are using enough detergent. You want to use half of the recommended detergent. So if you use a scoop of detergent for washing towels, you should use 1/2 a scoop for washing diapers. How to get rid of diaper smell? Well, it may be as simple as using more detergent. But you may need to strip your diapers like you would if you were having repelling liquid problems. In severe cases you may need to use a small amount of bleach. Be aware that this may void any warranties on the cloth diapers though.
Cloth diaper problems do arise, but solutions can be found. Diaper stains, diaper smell, and repelling issues are issues that have visited my home several times and will likely visit your home at some point if you cloth diaper. While there is no cut and dry solution that will work in every instance, the solutions I've given should work in most cases.